This time of year is always the hardest for me, cooking and eating-wise. The calendar says March, my body starts craving green vegetables but the temperature and available produce are still stuck in winter. In the past, I would just buy some tomatoes completely out of season and, while complaining about their lack of taste, find some way to disguise them and make them palatable.
But that's not how I like to cook anymore. First of all, I'd rather find good, seasonal food that I have to do very little to. Second of all, particularly when I'm just cooking for the vegetarian and me, I really prefer cooking simple food. So no tomatoes.
Broccoli Rabe, a bitter leafy green vegetable is a cold-weather green that I love and the vegetarian tolerates. I should say -- he likes the taste but not the texture of the stalks. A while ago I had bookmarked a recipe for Sauteed Chinese broccoli and fresh ricotta bruschetta at the hungry bambino. I decided to put my broccoli rabe on some bruschetta with grated Parmesan Cheese. Alongside Tofu (for the vegetarian) and Rib-Eye Steak (for the omnivore) in Lemon Juice and Herb Marinade and (several) glasses of Tocai Friulano (from the Long Island winery Channing Daughters, with whom we have a CSA), it was a perfect meal. Bon appetit!
Bruschetta with Broccoli Rabe
adapted from the hungry bambino
- 1 loaf French bread
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, woody ends removed and discarded, stalks separated from leaves
- 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
- lemon Garlic Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut bread in half lengthwise and then into smaller pieces (about 5 inches in length). Place on baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes, until crispy.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high flame. When it swirls like water in the pan, add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook very briefly, moving around constantly, just until they release their aroma (but careful not to burn them!). Add broccoli rabe stalks and saute 1 minute. Next add leaves and saute, tossing to coat with flavored oil, for 5 minutes.
Remove bread from oven and sprinkle each piece with Parmesan. Place 1-3 pieces of broccoli rabe on top. Drizzle with lemon garlic olive oil. Bon appetit!